Sheffield hospitals pay thousands for dodgy software
Ex-employee tips off FAST
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals are to pay £13,000 for inadequate software licensing, after an ex-staff member reported them to the Federation Against Software Theft.
The hospitals had failed to get enough licenses for Esker's SmarTerm emulation software. The failure was reported to FAST by a presumably disgruntled ex-employee of the NHS trust - a common way for such investigations to start.
The trust said it was a genuine error, according to Computerworld.
FAST Chief Executive John Lovelock said: “Anyone who thinks that FAST is an organisation without clout needs to think again.”
In other news the BMA has obtained agreement from the NHS to check the quality of care record data before sharing it between doctors' surgeries and primary care trusts. PCTs must also be satisfied that patients have been adequately informed before uploading records onto the central spine.
The real future of the NPfIT rests on the result of today's election. ®
If the sysadmin had done a 5 minute google research he might have found this:
which could have saved 13000 pounds of tax payers money. I don't know the particulars of the case but if it's terminal emulation on windows you are looking for...
Who will write it?
I agree - you can't rely on good-will and hobyists to write stuff for thr NHS - that's just silly.
But of the software that something like the NHS uses, a lot of it, like word processors, terminal emulators (!), databases, etc etc IS available off-the-shelf for free. Yes, of course it will take money to configure it and get it running, but that's true of whatever software you use - you can't just take an SQL server and it works for you - you need to invest effort into it. And (and this is the crucial thing), you damn well make sure that you (the NHS) retain any rights over any configuration work that is done; you don't want to be locked-in for the next hundred years into going back to the original supplier.
As for the rest, I bet a lot of the software is either bespoke or very heavily modified/configured stuff. In which case, it's no harder to write it to use a free platform (for example) than it is to use an expensive one. And again, you make sure you retain the rights.
Clearly the procurement people are simply not driving a hard enough bargain in this respect, because lock-in is as serious an issue today as it was back in the 70s and 80s when IBM were eventually stuffed-up for doing exactly this. Lessons seem not to have been leaned. Maybe the procument people don't actually know what they are doing? Could this be true? Surely not!!
It's a shame nobody will take notice.
It would be nice to think that some people who though about using Esker software will think again now that they're been seen to employ a bunch of thugs against a public-funded organisation.
Sadly most people couldn't care less about ethics when making purchasing choices.
...and what will happen? My guess is that they will get away with it - handslap moment. Please let a "new" Government put an end to this NPfIT garbage, money-wasting, CSC/BT/Fujitsu?HP/Accenture/Cerner farce....
How's this work then?
How does FAST work then? Presumably, the company concerned (Esker in this case) needs to be a "member" of FAST in order to give FAST a mandate to go after the evil-doing software-licence evading public/hospital/etc.
But it is, of course, yet another example of why huge public or government organisations need to move to either free software, or develop their own. Yes, of course the NHS is not in the business of developing software, but the people that decide what software to use need to wake-up.
As for suggesting that everyone migrate to Linux (first post), there are other free OSs out there you know! Some much more free than GPL'd Linux! And more stable, more secure, etc etc... Linux is not the only fruit.